Decision Time for Farmers

NEW ZEALAND - Meat & Wool New Zealand says that the voting papers which will determine the future of industry good investment in the sheep, beef and goat sector, have been sent out to all farmers on the M&WNZ electoral roll.
calendar icon 31 July 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

The voting pack farmers will receive also includes a detailed Levy Proposal and other information on the proposed levies for the period 2010-2015.

Chairman, Mike Petersen, said he was pleased with the positive response since the Proposal was released last week. He said the comment from Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre Chairperson, Bruce Wills, that Meat & Wool New Zealand has listened and responded to the issues raised by farmers over the past three months was welcome.

Mr Petersen said farmers had taken the opportunity to make their views known to Meat & Wool New Zealand over the past three months and that this feedback had been critical to shaping up the Levy Proposal.

“Now they have to decide with their vote whether or not they want Meat & Wool New Zealand to continue working for them.

“We know there will be some discussion over various aspects of the Levy Proposal,” Mr Petersen said.

“However, it accurately reflects what farmers have told us in a number of key areas. This includes the need for Meat & Wool New Zealand to lead the development of a sector strategy, the preference for a limited levy increase, the use of a mix of levy funding and interest and capital from the New Zealand Meat Board to fund activity, and ensuring that any levy increase is transparent and mapped out over the next five year period.”

Mr Petersen said that if farmers supported the levies there would be clear and transparent reporting back to them.

“That’s what they’ve asked us for and that is what they will get,” he said. “To be fair, the consultation phase was only completed three weeks ago and we have developed a pretty detailed Proposal in response to the feedback we’ve received.”

Mr Petersen said the proposal to farmers outlined a clear set of objectives, how they would be implemented and how they would be measured.

“We will be reporting back to farmers regularly on all aspects of the programme as they progress over the next five years,” he said.

“For example, we aim to have projects that can increase farm productivity by 3 per cent per annum, improve the price relativity of New Zealand beef and lamb in key export markets, and reduce our reliance on traditional markets through new market development with greater exporter support.

“Farmers should consider their vote in the context of an organisation that represents the interests of all farmers across a broad spectrum of activities.”

Mr Petersen also noted that the levy vote is for a continuation of levies, not simply for a change in the levy rate.

“A ‘No’ vote or choosing not to vote at all doesn’t mean we continue what we’re doing today with the same levy rates for another five years. It’s important that all farmers understand the reason for the referendum when they’re voting. This vote is on continuation of the levies themselves, which is necessary for Meat & Wool New Zealand to continue working for you.”

Mr Petersen said the proposal has the full support of every board member.

“We will be delivering projects that are valuable and relevant for farmers, and that have a positive impact on their farm business. Our aim quite simply is to get the maximum value out of each levy dollar, demonstrate that value to farmers along the way and get the information to farmers so that it can make a difference.”

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